The ROI Of Privacy: Cisco Study Finds High Returns On Spend

Memo to CFOs and everyone else in the email marketing C suite: Free up that money for privacy technology. 

Many firms are getting back more than double for every dollar they spend on privacy, according to Cisco’s new global study: From Privacy To Profit: Achieving Positive Returns on Privacy Investments.   

The average annual privacy spend is $1.2 million, although it varies by the size of the business. And the average benefit from this outlay is $2.70 million, again depending on size of the firm. 

Overall, 47% of firms are seeing over a twofold return and 33% are breaking even, while a mere 8% seem to be losing money on the deal.

The average return on the dollar is $2.70.

The benefits include:

  • Building loyalty and trust with customers — 74% 
  • Making the company more attractive to investors — 73% 
  • Achieving operational efficiency from data controls — 72%
  • Enabling agility and innovation — 71% 
  • Mitigating losses from data breaches — 71%
  • Reducing sales delays — 67% 



In last year’s survey,  33% recognized such benefits from privacy investment overall, versus an average o 70% this year.

The UK has the highest rate of return on privacy spend at 3.5, followed by 3.3. apiece for Brazil and Mexico, compared with 2.6 for the U.S. 

Firms that are high on the Accountability Wheel, a standard devised by the Centre for Information Policy Leadership, also have higher investment returns, according to Cisco’s analysis.

The average accountability score is 3.65 out of a possible 5.0. Of the firms polled 33% scored over 4.0 and 41% scored between 3.0 and 4.0. However, 25% pulled 3.0 or less. 

Businesses that score above 4.0 average only 3.5 weeks of sales delays, versus 3.9 weeks for companies in the middle accountability range and 5.5 weeks for those in the lowest group. 

In addition, firms that hit 4.0 also have a higher probability of being breach-free, with 28% who say so. And when breaches do occur, they have the lowest number of records exposed. Those in the highest sector have 19% less downtime from breaches, and 10% lower costs.

Buyers of business products and services are tuned into privacy — they seek vendors with privacy certifications such as ISO, EU/Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield, APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules and EU Binding Corporate Rules

Overall, 82% say these certifications are a factor when choosing vendors.. But the U.S. is below average at 75%. Canada is at the low end, with 55% and the UK second to last with 71%. 

As for spend, enterprise firms with 10,000 or more employees the spend was $1.9 million, and 2% of these spent over $5 million. Large outfits saw an estimated benefit of $4.1million, and 17% reported its is over $10 million.

For small businesses with 250 to 499 employees, the spend was $800,000, and 41% spend less than $500,000.

Finally, 55% of the brands surveyed are ready for GDPR. Another 29% will be ready in a year, and 12% will be ready in more than a year, while 3% feel GDPR doesn’t apply to them.

Cisco surveyed 2800 security professionals in 13 countries. 

Next story loading loading..